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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman


John Woodman

Much speculative comment has been made online on the disposition of the trams stored in Fleetwood by the FHLT which decided to terminate its longstanding efforts to establish a heritage attraction for the town. Whilst its originating plans and intentions have been negated by various factors outside of the Trust's control or influence, fortunately several Parties have recently come forward with the promise that most of the collection will be 'taken into care' locally.

Discussions are ongoing with two Fleetwood groups which may lead to early announcements. These will clarify which trams will go where - but the Trust does not intend for them to reenter public service . However the trams will finally receive careful rehabilitation with community involvement after their extended storage.

Fleetwood rightly deserves recognition for its role in hosting one of the earliest electric interurban tramways in the country and the independent Tramroad Company operation from 1898 to 1920. Foremostly this is in evidence through the continuing tram service traversing Fleetwood's commercial centre as far as the Ferry - a living memorial to the efforts of the Company's Founders and financing underwriters, one of whom was the leading Principal in Fisherman's Friend success.

The early years of that company took benefit from the Tramroad's own investment by acquiring the original tram depot structure sited next to the North Euston Hotel and creating the initial factory of Fisherman's Friend. Today the company occupies a far larger site overlooking the tramway with plans for further expansion adding to its already significant employment in the town. Local businesses in local ownership contrive to sustain communities through generations. The family firm of Barbour, founded in 1894 in another fishing port - South Shields, is testimony to the importance of retaining 'brands' as opposed to allowing them to slip into controlling ownership of avaricious financial groups. The loss of Cadbury and Frys chocolate firms on takeover by foreign corporates being just two examples of local influence and control slipping away - along with employment and future investment. At one time Blackpool hosted several national confectionery brands such as Waller & Hartley. Eventually these local employers saw their operations on the Fylde coast removed to benefit new owners following takeovers.

Many took the ride to Fleetwood from North Station on the Tramroad cars :

Blackpool of course maintains its premier seaside resort position in the north of England as a result of a further family owned business - The Pleasure Beach Company which has its origins in the sandhills of South Shore towards the end of the 19th Century. It too took massive benefit from delivery of millions of visitors to its gates by the prolific electric tram service feeding revenue year on year in a mutually beneficial relationship with the Tramways (later Transport) Department.

Long may this last.


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